Thursday January 24, 2013Kiersten Wang: Determined for Success
By Jimena Panduro, UF Communications
Determination and striving for excellence are every day traits for Florida sophomore Kiersten Wang. She expects to always do her best, whether that is in the gym or inside the classroom. Her second year as a Gator is proving to be a completely different experience than her first. And for someone with Wang’s mind-set, that is actually a very good thing.
“Last year, coming in as a freshman, I had no idea what to expect”, said Wang. “I think I learned a lot and that has helped me be better this year; not only in gymnastics but mentally too”.
After being part of a squad that missed bringing the 2012 NCAA team title back to Gainesville by the narrow margin of 0.075, Wang, like the rest of her teammates, has come back more gritty and motivated than ever.
“Coming so close last year brought a lot of determination; not only to me but to the team as well. We want to get first this year and we are working for it.”
In addition to the arduous work she puts in every day during practices, Wang also shines in her scholastic achievements. She is a civil engineering major and finished with a 4.0 grade point average last semester. She has never gotten anything below an A- and as she should, she takes a lot of pride in that accomplishment.
“School’s always been really important to me”, Wang says. “I don’t know where it came from. I’ve never got pushed to get good grades; it was more of an internal thing. I have always wanted to get good grades. It’s probably the perfectionist side of me”.
Being a student-athlete in college is no easy task, but Wang, whose favorite subject is math, makes it look easy. This however doesn’t mean it is, and she makes it clear that she earns what she gets.
“I don’t think it was hard to maintain my 4.0 GPA but I also did put a lot of time and effort into it,” she admits.
Aside from her love for gymnastics and school, Wang also has a fascination for the supernatural, more specifically, a fascination with ghosts. Kiersten Wang really likes ghosts. She says they creep her out and she would probably freak out if she ever encountered one, but more than anything, she believes and is sure that they exist.
Of course, being the perfectionist she is, Wang is well-informed about the paranormal subject she deeply enjoys.
“I have books on them, like storybooks,” she said. “The one in my room right now is called ‘Ghost Stories of the Rocky Mountains’ and it tells you about haunted places and ghost fables.”
And what about those television shows that feature people looking for ghosts?
“Ghost Adventures! Now THAT’S a good one!” she excitedly points out. “They go to all these different haunted places and they tell you the history behind them; like why it is haunted and who could possibly be haunting them. Then they spend the night there and weird stuff happens. And okay, I know maybe it’s a hoax, but I am convinced that there are ghosts there.”
Oh, and if you are wondering whether she would like to go inside one of those places and spend the night, then the answer is yes.
What would her haunted location of choice be? That would be The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colo. where novelist Stephen King was famously inspired to write his horror novel ‘The Shining’.
A perfectionist at heart, and certainly one bold young lady, Kiersten Wang seems to have it all under control. She is well aware that the results of anything you do will only be a reflection of the hard work you put in; and her excellent work ethic has proven that to be true.
Already this season, Wang has been a part of Florida’s opening three floor exercise lineups, earning a collegiate-best 9.80 last Friday. She also turned in a season-high 9.825 vault mark versus Missouri.
This second time around, she feels much more confident and that has shown in her performances so far. As the season progresses, she is looking forward to keep on finding herself and helping her teammates in any way she can.
“Taking it step by step is one of my main goals”, she says.
With an unusual fascination, a good head over her shoulders and an excellent set of priorities, Kiersten Wang’s career with the Orange and Blue certainly seems to be heading down the right path.